Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
MCKINLEY, William. Typed letter signed ("William McKinley") as President, to James Hoge Tyler (1846-1925), Governor of Virginia, Washington, 28 May 1898. 1¼ pages, 8vo (9 x 5 5/8 in.), Executive Mansion stationery, very minor stain on page 1, otherwise in fine condition.

Details
MCKINLEY, William. Typed letter signed ("William McKinley") as President, to James Hoge Tyler (1846-1925), Governor of Virginia, Washington, 28 May 1898. 1¼ pages, 8vo (9 x 5 5/8 in.), Executive Mansion stationery, very minor stain on page 1, otherwise in fine condition.

MCKINLEY PRAISES "THE SPECTACLE OF THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH MARCHING UNDER THE OLD FLAG AT THE NATION'S CALL" ON MEMORIAL DAY

A patriotic letter in which veteran McKinley salutes the celebration of Memorial Day and the reunion of former Civil War enemies that it invoked. Memorial Day officially began in 1868 when General John A. Logan, Commander-in-Chief of the GAR, declared May 30th a day to honor the graves of Union soldiers (although it did not become a Federal holiday until 1971). Although southerners frequently designated their own Memorial Day for the Confederate dead, the gathering of soldiers from both sides became a common occurrence on May 30th and upon the anniversaries of the war's most costly battles.

Here, writing to Governor Tyler in the midst of the Spanish American War, McKinley responds that he will be unable to attend services at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond: "The kind invitation...in behalf of the ladies of 'Hollywood Memorial Association'...is cordially appreciated...but it is impossible for me to leave Washington just now." The President affirms, however, the patriotic importance of the day: "The observance of Memorial Day is a fitting and beautiful tribute to our heroic dead. Every citizen should consider it a privilege to take part in these ceremonies. The splendid patriotism exhibited in every part of our common country exalts the American name, and the spectacle of the North and the South marching under the old flag at the Nation's call fills all hearts with pride and gratitude."

Provenance: Kenneth Rendell, 1976.
;

More from The Forbes Collection of American Historical Documents

View All
View All